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Soen - 'Cognitive' http://www.rocktopia.co.uk/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/200x200s/46/82/73/2323_soencognitive_1339699083.jpg Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     June 14, 2012    
 
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A glorious slab of audio candy.

From Opeth to Death and Testament, the respective roots of Soen alone make for a tantalising prospect on paper. But however promising this instant pedigree, few could anticipate the sheer intensity and technical brilliance that debut ‘Cognitive’ delivers in spades.

More instinctive beast than simple band, these veteran players gel with near-telepathic chemistry that sees fathomless melodies, chugging tech-death and honeyed acoustics combine to create one mesmerising monster of a progressive metal album. With its funk-laden bass and mellow, Maynard James Keenan-esque vocals owing a glaringly obvious debt to Tool from the off, there’s no denying ‘Cognitive’s’ derivative elements. But having also added plenty of their own tension-fuelled magic to the mix, it’s a largely forgivable flaw that pales in comparison to the passion and pinpoint precision with which this cutting-edge album is rendered.

Fireworks - The Ultimate Magazine For Melodic Rock Music

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And for all his Keenan-flavoured tendencies, frontman Joel Ekelof’s impeccable vocals remain as undeniably smooth and intoxicating as opium smoke. Backed by layer upon layer of chugging, spiralling and distorted guitars, theirs is an unpredictable, cleverly orchestrated game of atmospheric ebb and aggressive flow. As such, this carefully controlled assault is no simple exercise in brutality, with the aptly-titled ‘Oscillation’ bringing Soen’s technical talents to the fore with a mesmerising mix of Meshuggah-style bass, tribal percussion and bittersweet vocal leads.

Toying intelligently with time signatures throughout, ex-Testament bassist Steve DiGiorgio takes the lead with nimble-fingered expertise played out in ever-changing accents of monstrous grooves and tantalising clusters of notey aggression. But despite being loaded with experimental plus points, the sum of these myriad parts is, above all else, a glorious slab of audio candy that tantalises and transports the listener from intriguing beginning to explosive end.

Faye Coulman

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